First and foremost, apologies for the long delay in getting this post out there. I’ve had a busy week and a half what with catching up on my sleep and Gaelic tournaments, but more on that later!
I’ve mentioned before how, as a waygook (foreigner), you get some leeway with rules, regulations and the bounds of society in general. In order to take advantage of this a group of us decided to explore an abandoned amusement park in the neighboring city of Gimhae.
Getting a taxi to drop us at the entrance prooved easier than we expected as we had anticipated having to make up some nonsense place we were actually visiting that was definitely not an abandoned amusement park.
However, never baffled by the strange requests of a waygook, the driver obliged and left us right at the gate. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Gayaland.
As you can see there’s still quite a lot of the park standing, if looking a touch run down. What better enticement to trespass and explore (finally I understand the line in the ‘Our Father’, I, at last, have trespasses to be forgiven). As we looked at the entrance we began to wonder if there was a back way we had to sneak in, as going through the gates seemed too bold, even for seasoned explorers such as ourselves.
After a quick reconnaissance mission to scope out entry-ways we notices two things: 1. It’s main entrance or no entrance and 2. There were workmen on the site next-door. It was only then that I thought about any repercussions being found in Gayaland might have seeing as I am a guest in this wonderful country. What if the workmen called the police? And hell we don’t have two trailer park girls to go round the outside to find us another way in.
However, given the lack of interest the workmen showed in the group of 8 foreigners hanging out by the turnstiles, we decided to brave the passage beyond the gates. Did anyone hear them calling us back? No? We’re in!
Once through the gates, we crossed a bridge leading to the real entrance to the amusements. As we approached the steps up to the park proper we saw the ‘guard dogs’ waiting at the top, daring us to come even one step closer.
Or, perhaps begging us to come one step closer and rub their bellies and loosen the ropes which had begun to dig into their shoulders. But, to be on the safe side we skirted around the dogs for now.
Many other posts about Gayaland that I’ve read have noted the creepy atmosphere and unusual feeling in the park, due to the dilapidation. However, I’m not sure I would agree. Perhaps because of the larger group of us there, or maybe the afternoon sunlight beaming down from above dispelled the ghosts of fair-goers past, but for me the overwhelming atmosphere was mystery and nature taking back its land.
One thing I will note is the fact that in spite of the ruin of the rest of the park there is one building which remains locked, and through a window on the second floor you can see an office which looks to but operational still. Unusual, sure, maybe even suspicious if I were theatrically inclined, which, as I’m sure you know, I am not!
Apparently the theme park was at least somewhat active up until three years ago, according to a Reddit thread I found while trying to figure out exactly how much trouble I was risking getting myself into by venturing to Gayaland. But there’s a surprising amount of growth back in the place given how thoroughly the Koreans usually cover everything in nature-resistant concrete.Just check out the entrance to the roller coaster here. This was probably the most used ride for the active years of Gayaland and now it looks like a prop from the new Jurassic World movie.
Being the curious soul that I am I went through the barriers to get to the tracks in the hopes that I could get access to the maintenance stairs which runs along by the tracks of the coaster, however, the overgrowth was too dense to beat through and I gave it up for a bad job.
I have posted the rest of my pictures on imgur as there are far too many for one post.
Before coming to the roller coaster we explored the rocking pirate ship, which, was the first of the hydraulic rides we came to after taking a quick right at the bottom of the steps of the dogs. The whole boat section is mostly intact, if a bit covered in cobwebs and dust.Naturally, I jumped into the boat to grab a fun snap sitting in the ride, not thinking that the brakes were probably broke (or that the whole thing could come down around my ears at any moment). Of course at the motion the boat gave a small rock, hinting at the vaulting swings of its past, following which I let out a shout, or a squeak of surprise and leapt out of the hanging carriage.
Following up a slight incline was the main square of the park towards the big wheel and the roller coaster. This area kind of gives the impression that the park was pretty small given the standards of today and also rocks a very 80s or 90s vibe with weird metallic merry-go-rounds and neon hand rails.Unfortunately, it was just out of frame that the biggest of the guard dogs was tied up. The dog was more of a deterrent than sentry as when approached he licked our hands and let us pet him, although from the look of him he was starved of human affection, among other bare necessities like shelter and water.
It was both one of the highlights and lowlights of the trip as +1 for dogs but animal cruelty is not high on the list of things that float my boat. After seeing the abused dogs it was time to shape up and ship out without seeing the water slide section of the park, but I’ll definitely be back for that soon!
Overall, Gayaland was definitely an amazing place to visit, especially given that usually anything that closes down is torn down and rebuilt as a GS25 or 7/11 in a matter of hours. So, I have finally become one of the new ‘Urban Explorers’ that have sprung up around the net.Speaking of nets, stay tuned for the post on my foibles and fumblings in and around the nets of a Gaelic pitch.